Monday, March 27, 2023

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Mobilizing Georgia voters in a non-election year is crucial for voting rights groups, Philadelphians over 50 will play a major role in the mayoral primary, and the EPA is finalizing a new air quality rule.

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Michigan becomes the first state in decades to repeal a "right to work" law, death penalty opponents say President Biden is not keeping campaign promises to halt federal executions, and more states move to weaken child labor protection laws.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

New Study Links Childhood Trauma with Heart Failure

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Tuesday, December 6, 2022   

Child-abuse prevention specialists in South Dakota and elsewhere say a new study underscores the need to protect kids from traumatic situations to avoid long-term physical health issues. International researchers have found a 14% increase in heart failure among adults who experienced one form of childhood maltreatment.

Those with three to five types of maltreatment had a 43% increased risk.

Brooke Jones, a child-abuse pediatrician based in Sioux Falls, said these events place stressors on the body.

"If you've heard of the term 'fight or flight' - if you're having constant adversity in your childhood, you might be in a constant flight stage, meaning that you don't have any down regulation or you're not getting out of that constant stress environment," Jones said.

And that constant stress can leave its mark in multiple ways, including cardiovascular disease, as these kids transition to adulthood. Jones said parents or caregivers can reduce the impact by providing a nurturing environment as the child grows.

She said it can involve simple things, such as reading to them or finding ways to let them know they are in a safe space.

Shakira Suglia, director of epidemiology at Emory University, chaired a 2017 American Heart Association report that tied adverse childhood experiences to adult health risks, including heart disease. She said the new study adds to evidence that the mental and physical health effect go hand-in-hand when peeling back the layers of trauma.

"There might be development of depression or anxiety disorders that may make someone more prone to then cope with substances," she said. "For example, the uptake of smoking is also another thing that people tend to use to cope with stress."

Suglia echoed calls for policymakers and community-level organizations to do anything that supports stronger family relationships, especially in situations where trauma has surfaced in a household. She said outside of the home, schools and care centers can be on alert for children who have dealt with trauma and should try to emphasize a welcoming environment in those settings.


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